Japan project using Twitter to save endangered birds

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From July 15, ten years since the day after the start of Twitter services, a project team led by University of Tokyo Professor Emeritus Hiroyoshi Higuchi and Conservation International Japan (CI Japan) globally launched the DONATE 4 BIRDS project website (http://donateforbirds.com/) to ask for donations via Twitter or through direct contribution to CI’s efforts to protect nature around the world. CI Japan is a local arm of Conservation International (CI), a U.S. nonprofit environmental organization.

One in seven wild bird species is said to be on the brink of extinction (*1) due to human activities. To support initiatives for maintaining ecosystems vital to the survival of wild life and for building sustainable societies to allow this, the project website has now developed two methods of donation. The first method is the traditional way of making financial contributions. The second is a world-first initiative where individuals donate their Twitter, “a bird you have created yourself”.

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Even if you cannot donate money, you can still get the word out to your followers about wild birds and the harsh realities they face by donating your Twitter account. Up to 40 million new accounts have been created in a day, and there are currently hundreds of millions of Twitter accounts in the world. Younger users have an average of four each. Over the past few years, there has also been a worldwide increase in articles about people becoming tired of the unreal world of social networks. We would like to encourage those who are disillusioned with social networking sites and those who are thinking about doing a social media detox to participate in this project, which creates a sustainable way to maintain both a real and a digital presence.

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Natural ecosystem

Comment from Professor Higuchi: One in seven species of birds is at risk of extinction because of human activities. Birds play a vital role in the natural ecosystem. Without them, the ecosystem would become unbalanced. More than that, if wild life were to lose their habitats, humans could no longer enjoy numerous natural blessings that we have taken for granted. These include the purification of our air and water; the sources of our food, clothing and medicine; erosion and flood control; soil retention; sequestration of carbon; climate stability and our physical and mental well-being. Nature provides the basis of a healthy human society.

Twitter account donations will also be able to be rescinded. When a donated account is rescinded, it returns to its previous state.

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Comment from Yasushi Hibi (CI Japan Managing Director): Conservation International (CI) works around the world to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. We do this through science, policy and partnerships. CI Japan is working with local communities, governments, and corporate partners to protect the Central Cardamom Protected Forest, Cambodia’s largest protected forest, Indonesia’s Gedepahala forest which provides drinking water to Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, and projects in Brazil, China, India, the Philippines and Liberia. These forests are home of some world’s most endangered and precious birds such as Giant Ibis, Cambodian laughing thrush, and Sumatran ground-cuckoo which without these protection efforts may have been lost already. – PRNewswire

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